Just because you’re 100-years-old doesn’t mean you have to stop working.
Meet Klaus Obermeyer, who celebrated his birthday by hitting the century mark in December. The German-born aeronautical engineer landed in the US in 1947, where he landed in Aspen, Colorado, starting as a ski instructor long before Aspen became known for its white slopes in skiing and snowboarding.
“People skied in suit jackets and regular shirts,” Obermeyer told Outside earlier this month. “Maybe they had a sweater. We’d ride up the single-chair lift wearing long city coats to try to stay warm, then send them back down on the chairs and ski down in our suit jackets. It was cold, and people were uncomfortable.”
The former ski instructor craved something more. He envisioned an opportunity to create a side hustle of sorts, finding a way to get those business-types to turn in their suit jackets for clothes meant for skiing. That’s when he founded Sport Obermeyer, an outdoor clothing leader that reportedly birthed his first down-filled parka using comforter sent by his mother.
Obermeyer recently shared some of his secrets to The Aspen Times for living life to the fullest and continuing to push even at 100.
On starting his business and ever having doubts:
Obermeyer: “No. You always get to where you aim to. If you aim at Aspen Mountain you will not end up at Red Mountain. You will go up Aspen Mountain. It’s a very powerful thing, an aim. You take aim at something that is doable. When I came to Aspen, Friedl Pfeifer got me here and he said, ‘Klaus, you’re an airplane technician. We need better skis, we need better poles, we need better clothing.’ There was no ski clothing in 1947. He said, ‘So, anytime you’re not in a class or teaching (skiing), work on it.’ And I said, ‘Friedl, I’ll do that.’ So I aimed at making a lot of things better and make it more fun for people to be outdoors and to make skiing more enjoyable and safer and share that pleasure with more and more people. And it worked.”
On what he’d tell a Millennial on life:
Obermeyer: “Set priorities. The first priority is your health — what it is you need to do every day to retain as much as possible your health. That’s No. 1 in eating and exercising and living and breathing.
No. 2 is how to make a living. That’s really important.
No. 3 is what you want to do for your fun stuff.”
On how to maintain positive vibes:
Obermeyer: “That’s one’s choice. We have the choice of perception. Every morning in the shower I clean the mirror of perception. It’s your choice. You can hate Aspen Mountain or you can love Aspen Mountain. It’s up to you. I love the planet. I love the unbelievable life on this planet. The nice weather in Aspen that’s great for outdoor sports in summer and winter. There are very few things one can be sad about.
Hate is a negative energy. Love is a positive energy. You always have that choice. Make it nice, make it good, make it terrific and love life and love the planet. Love everything. We are so lucky.”